BALTIMORE, Md. (February 28, 2011) - Team Need for Speed took to Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for the Formula Drift UAE Invitational competition last week. Recently announced Team NFS member, Fredric Aasbo, came out on top after defeating 2009 Formula Drift Champ, Chris Forsberg, in the finals. Team Need for Speed's Mad Mike Whiddett finished the event in a very respectable fourth place, after his battle in the consolation round against two-time Formula Drift Champion, Tanner Foust.
During the week leading up to the main event, both Team Need for Speed drivers participated in some pre-competition promotion and fun, like kart racing and drag racing with fellow Formula Drift drivers. Watch the VIDEO from the pre-competition festivities. Fredric Aasbo did a pre-event live-stream INTERVIEW where he talks to "The Voice" of Formula Drift, Jarod DeAnda, about his new team and his thoughts about Yas Marina Circuit. Mad Mike had the honor of flying into Abu Dhabi a week earlier for promotions and to give all the media and Yas Marina staff ride-alongs in the BADBUL Need for Speed RedBull RX8. Watch the VIDEO.
This event marks the first time in history that Formula Drift has competed at Yas Marina Circuit. "Having a Formula Drift event at what is probably the world's most impressive racing facility, says a lot about how far the sport has progressed in under ten years," says Fredric. "It started out on Japanese mountain roads, and now we are drifting at the number one state-of-the-art Formula 1 facility located in the geographical centre of the world. For a boy that learned to drive on snowy Scandinavian backroads, this is the ultimate drifting experience!"
The competition was composed of eight specially-invited and highly-renowned Formula Drift drivers. In the Great Eight, Mad Mike would battle his way through Michael Essa after qualifying fourth, and Fredric Aasbo was able to defeat Ryan Tuerck after qualifying eighth. Fredric and Mad Mike would then both move on the top four, only to be matched up against each other.
Fredric and Mad Mike were set for their Team Need for Speed brawl in the Final Four. Both drivers gave it their all when leading and put on the pressure when following, but a slight correction from Mike would be enough for the judges to award Fredric the advantage. He would move on to the finals for an automatic podium position.
Mad Mike still had a chance for third, however, and would battle against Tanner Foust in the consolation round. After two solid runs from both drivers, the judges deemed Tanner the advantage and Mad Mike would take fourth place overall.
Fredric was faced with Chris Forsberg in the fight for first place. Forsberg led first with a good run, but Fredric remained glued to his competitor throughout the course. When it was Fredric's turn to led, he flew though the course, with the Falken Tire smoke spewing from the Team Need for Speed Japan Auto Toyota Supra. Forsberg stayed on Fredric, but corrected when going into the last rear clipping zone. Fredric won the round and was awarded the overall winner of the Formula Drift UAE Invitational!
"I just can't believe it," says Fredric. "As I initially struggled to adapt to the line and qualified last, I was able to step it up throughout the competition and end up on top of the podium. Sometimes you achieve milestones you will never forget, and Formula Drift at the incredible Yas Marina Circuit marks the best day of my life!"
"Being invited to Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit to help introduce the sport of drifting to the Middle East was such an honor, and I can't even describe how it felt being given the number one trophy by the Royal Family," Fredric continues. "The hospitality and support we have received is simply unparalleled. A million thanks to all of you that have had faith in us and made this happen!" Watch this VIDEO for highlights of Fredric's win.
"Kicking off the season with what is our first-ever Formula Drift podium is such a milestone for me," says Fredric. "Now it's on to preparing the Team Need for Speed Scion tC for the North American Formula Drift Series with Papadakis Racing. I am excited out of this world to take on this new challenge - see you in Long Beach!" Watch this VIDEO for some exclusive footage and an overall summary of the event.